As we begin what feels like the last major push of this hike, Washington has decided to once again…be Washington. It drizzled on and off for the first few hours of our hike this afternoon, only to gear up and start raining with serious intent just as we got to camp. As I write this, there’s a steady rain outside on our tarp, my hiking pants are wet from the calf down, and it’s just generally wet everywhere. Sigh.
I suppose I should be grateful that it’s just rain, that the temperatures are still high enough, and that it’s not a serious storm. And I am, really. But it felt like we’d already gotten more than our fair share of rain in the first nine days we were in Washington. I know that’s a ludicrous way to think, but it still does feel like we’ve gotten more than our fair share by now.
The weather does make interesting patterns out there on the mountains. Many people say this last stretch is one of the most beautiful of the whole trail, and I can believe it, although the rainclouds currently ensure that we can’t see a whole lot of it. It feels a little magical to see the clouds in the valleys below you, and watch them drift back and forth, revealing parts of the forest at the same time that they obscure others. It’s all part of the experience, really — even the hikers who come through this area when it’s full, bright sun get their experience, but miss out on the dramatic effects of the rain and cloudier weather.
It was wonderful this morning to spend time indoors, to wake up in a real bed, to have heat and running water and be dry inside. It didn’t take us too long to hitchhike back from Skykomish to Stevens Pass Ski Area, and, after dallying in the gift shop (sodas! snacks!) for a bit, we headed down the trail. Stehekin, our last town stop, is still an impressive 95 miles from here. Onwards!